Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

NBC hopes The Slap is heard ’round the world

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Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, February 12. All times are Eastern.


Top pick

The Slap (NBC, 8 p.m.): As Gwyneth Paltrow recently reminded us at The Grammy Awards, “We live in complicated times.” Now NBC is digging into the complexities of modern life with a new miniseries about an affluent community rocked to its very core when Zachary Quinto slaps someone else’s child at a barbecue. Based on an Australian miniseries and told in character-centric episodes, The Slap is packed to the gills with talent from Peter Sarsgaard to Thandie Newton to Brian Cox to Uma Thurman to the aforementioned Quinto. And while Mr. Spock might find all that fuss (and a lawsuit) over one slap slightly illogical, LaToya Ferguson found the show to be an “interesting character piece about the general chaos of life” in her pre-air review.

Also noted

The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8 p.m.): It’s Jeremy’s last day in Mystic Falls, and actor Steven R. McQueen’s last episode as a Vampire Diaries series regular. While Carrie Raisler isn’t exactly broken up about his departure, she does hope Jeremy finds time for one last shirt rip in between all those inevitable emotional goodbyes.

Babylon (Sundance, 10 p.m.): Thanks to the British model of TV, Babylon is over almost as soon as it began. Tonight Genevieve Valentine joins the London Metro Police Department for one last (mis)adventure as Charles and Franklin battle it out for the Commissioner’s post, and civil unrests erupts in the streets a la the London riots of 2011.

Portlandia (IFC, 10 p.m.): The Simpsons creator (and Portland native) Matt Groening guest stars as himself on tonight’s fashion-themed episode of Portlandia. Groening brings Spyke to court for making unlicensed Bart Simpson merchandise. Noted Simpsons fan Les Chappell will be reviewing the episode while wearing his own extensive collection of “Bootleg Bart” gear.


Regular Coverage

Adventure Time (Cartoon Network, 7:30 p.m.):

Reign (The CW, 9 p.m.)

Scandal (ABC, 9 p.m.)

How To Get Away With Murder (ABC, 10 p.m.)

Archer (FX, 10 p.m.)

Fortitude (Pivot, 10 p.m.)

Elementary (CBS, 10 p.m.)

TV Club Classic

Futurama (10 a.m.): Professor Farnsworth joins the Clone Club long before Orphan Black made it cool in “A Clone Of My Own.” Then Fry has an affair and Bender gets brainwiped in “How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back.” Oh, and for some reason Zack Handlen can’t stop singing about the fact that he was born to be a bureaucrat.


Elsewhere in TV Club

Love Week continues as Charlie Hooper examines the onscreen connection between food and love in a brand new Food Fiction. Perhaps unsurprisingly, snack-loving Liz Lemon is the one TV protagonist to join a long list of cinematic foodies. Although sadly, it’s not for her intimate relationship with night cheese.


Then Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, “the power couple of the L.A. podcast scene,” use their romantic wisdom to answer love-related queries from our readers, while Libby Hill examines the familial love story at the center of Jane The Virgin.

Elsewhere, the velvet-voiced Titus Welliver answers our 11 Questions and compares working on Beverly Hills, 90210 to shoveling shit on a diary farm.


What else is on?

Steven Universe/Regular Show (Cartoon Network, 6:30/7:30 p.m.): Ronaldo gets paranoid about the paranormal in Beach City then the Regular Show gang gear up for Format Wars II.


Inside The Actors Studio (Bravo, 8 p.m.): Let’s face it, if Neil Patrick Harris were a woman we’d likely be complaining that he’s over exposed at the moment. But since he’s not, enjoy NPH discussing his “multidimensional career” with James Lipton on Inside The Actors Studio before the erstwhile Doogie Howser hosts the Oscars later this month, launches a variety show in the fall, and cashes the checks from his recent American Horror Story guest appearance.

Backstrom (Fox, 9 p.m.): Tonight surly detective Backstrom investigates the murder of a drag queen and later has a run-in with his own former fiancée. When it comes to gauging Backstrom’s impact on pop culture, star Rainn Wilson sums it up best:


Project Runway: All Stars (Lifetime, 9 p.m.): In the season finale of Project Runway: All Stars, the finalists create collections inspired by the four seasons. Which actually sounds incredibly boring for a show that earlier this season made a designer swim with sharks to earn extra money for supplies.

The Big Lebowski (IFC, 5 p.m.): We normally reserve this slot to highlight a classic film, but since The Big Lebowski is an undisputable modern day classic, we’ll just let you know that The Dude abides at 5 p.m. on IFC tonight. Just be careful man, there’s a beverage here.


Toy Story 3 (Disney, 8 p.m.): A heads up to anyone who needs a good cry this Thursday evening: Toy Story 3 is on.

NBA Basketball: Cavaliers at Bulls (ESPN, 8 p.m.): According to one pre-game analysis, “The Bulls have yet to face the Cavaliers at full strength.” Just wait until you see what happens when they drink Bugs Bunny’s “special drink.”


In case you missed it

Black-ish: LaToya Ferguson generously brought roses, chocolates, champagne, and a giant stuffed animal to share with Dre and Rainbow on Valentine’s Day. Sadly, the couple had little to offer in return.